Dataset

The CSAC database is the first systematic and large-scale inquiry into various types of enslavement within modern armed conflicts. It measures reports of conflict-related enslavement committed by armed actors during the years 1989-2016. It includes every case and type of slavery across 171 wars and conflicts fought between those dates.

The armed actors include nation-states, pro-government militias, rebel groups, insurgents, and other sub-state actors.

The database records information on the forms of slavery present, including child soldiering, sexual exploitation / forced marriage, forced labour, and human trafficking. Another variable records whether the use of slavery by an armed actor was in pursuit of tactical or strategic aims or both.

Sides involved in a conflict are designated Side A or Side B. Both are by definition primary parties to the conflict. Side A is always the government side of internal conflicts and the colonial state in extrastate conflicts. Side B is always the opposition side of internal conflicts and is a state in interstate conflicts. Conflicts are coded as to whether each form of slavery was perpetrated by Side A, Side B, neither, or both.

While the plight of child soldiers has been clear for some time, the extent of other forms of slavery – from forced marriage and the sale of slaves through human trafficking by armed groups – has never been measured.

We see the coding of slavery within conflict as a step toward generating more scholarship, debate, and understanding of when and how state and non-state actors use enslavement within armed conflicts, with the goal of learning how to mitigate and possibly eradicate slavery in warfare

In the future, we will extend this longitudinal dataset back to WWII as well as keeping it up-to-date with new conflicts. Future lines of research to be considered include:                    

  • Geographical contexts of conflicts and potential effects on types of enslavement
  • Reasons/predictors for tactical enslavement and for strategic enslavement
  • Potential risks for further exploitation of enslavement in post-conflict environments
  • Potentially unique effects of enslavement in conflicts on the victims and perpetrators

The dataset can also be downloaded from the CSAC homepage.

Key Findings

  • Slavery and human trafficking are present in 90 per cent  of modern wars.
  • The most common type of enslavement in war zones was the use of child soldiers, occurring in 87 per cent of armed conflicts, with child soldiers more likely to be used by Side B. Enslaved children were found in 252 disputes over territory and 221 disputes over governmental issues. When Side A and Side B both enslaved children, 190 instances were over territory, and 282 were due to governmental disputes
  • Sexual exploitation and/or forced marriage was present in a third (32 per cent) of modern wars. 21 per cent included forced labour and 14 per cent contained instances of human trafficking.
  • The data show that although nation-states (Side A) are less likely to enslave children as soldiers, they are more likely to engage in other forms of sexual violence in armed conflicts. It was observed that both ‘sides’ within a conflict commit sexual exploitation and forced marriage, with researchers recording 10 per cent of instances by Side A and 12 per cent by Side B, as well as 12 per cent of occasions where both sides used this form of slavery. This is in contrast to the use of child soldiers in armed conflicts, in which case Side A is rarely the offender.
  • Compared to child soldiers and sexual exploitation/forced marriage, there were fewer instances of human trafficking, defined as the onward sale of enslaved persons. Side A is responsible for less than one percent of all cases, whereas Side B accounts for 15 per cent of all cases.
  • Enslavement is more likely to take place in internal armed conflicts than other conflict types, such as the recent war involving ISIS in Iraq.
  • The dataset shows that slavery in war can be both a tactic (forced labour supporting armed groups) and strategic – such as the slavery used by ISIS as part of a strategy of genocide against the Yazidi people.    

Dataset (Excel Version)
Excel version of the dataset
Size : 686KB
Version : 1
Published : 7th October 2020
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Dataset (Stata Version)
Stata version of dataset
Size : 3mb
Version : 1
Published : 7th October 2020
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Working Paper - Contemporary Slavery in Armed Conflicts: Introducing the CSAC Dataset, 1989–2016
This Working Paper introduces the Contemporary Slavery in Armed Conflict (CSAC) dataset that codes instances and types of enslavement in armed conflicts from 1989 to 2016, building upon conflict data from the Uppsala Conflict Data Program. CSAC currently covers 171 armed conflicts from 1989 to 2016, with the primary unit of analysis being the conflict-year - the 171 conflicts represent 1,113 conflict-years. We identify different types of enslavement within these conflicts. Instances in which enslavement in armed conflicts is used to support strategic aims are identified. Because this data coding exercise is novel, we highlight limitations and suggest areas for further research. We see the coding of slavery within conflict as a step toward generating more scholarship, debate, and understanding of when and how state and non-state actors use enslavement within armed conflicts, with the goal of learning how to mitigate and possibly eradicate slavery in warfare.
Size : 865 KB
Version : 1
Published : Oct. 2020
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Codebook & User Manual
Codebook & user manual to accompany the dataset.
Size : 173KB
Version : 1
Published : 1st October 2020
Download

Frequently Asked Questions

How should the CSAC database be cited?

Smith, Angharad, Monti Narayan Datta, and Kevin Bales. 2020. “Introducing Contemporary Slavery in Armed Conflicts: Introducing the CSAC Dataset, 1989–2016.” Unpublished manuscript.

What types of conflicts are included?

The dataset examines armed conflicts documented by the Uppsala Conflict Data Program (UCDP) from 1989 to 2016 in which at least one side of the conflict was a nation-state. The UCDP defines a conflict as, “a contested incompatibility that concerns government and/or territory where the use of armed force between two parties, of which at least one is the government of a state, results in at least 25 battle-related deaths in a calendar year.”

The UCDP identifies four types of conflicts, which are coded as such in the database:

  1. Extrasystemic conflicts occur between a state and a non-state group outside of the state's territory. These are by definition fought over territory.
  2. Interstate conflict occurs between one or more states.
  3. Internal armed conflict occurs between the government of a state and one or more internal opposition group(s) without intervention from other states.
  4. Internationalized internal armed conflict occurs between the government of a state and one or more internal opposition group(s) with intervention from other states (secondary parties) on one or both sides.

What other data about enslavement in the conflicts are included in the database?

The database includes

  • whether each conflict was a proxy war;
  • whether enslavement was used tactically or strategically or both or neither;
  • whether the incompatibility behind the conflict involved governance or territory or both;
  • the start and end dates and measures of precision for both;
  • a measure of the conflict's intensity;
  • and the geographical region of the conflict.

How are the different forms of slavery identified by the dataset defined?

Child Soldiers - Under Article 8 of the Rome Statute, war crimes against child soldiers include conscripting or enlisting children under the ages of 15 years, or using them to participate actively in hostilities. (Rome Statute).

 

Sexual Exploitation / Forced Marriage - According to the United Nations, this includes “Any institution or practice whereby: A woman, without the right to refuse, is promised or given in marriage on payment of a consideration in money or in kind to her parents, guardian family, or any other person or group; or The husband of a woman, his family or his clan, has the right to transfer her to another person for value received or otherwise; or A woman on the death of her husband is liable to be inherited by another person.” (United Nations Convention on the Abolition of Slavery, the Slave Trade and Institutions and Practices Similar to Slavery).

 

Forced Labour - According to the International Labor Organization, this includes “All work service which is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty and for which the said person has not offered himself voluntarily.” This excludes compulsory military service, normal civil obligations, penalties imposed by a court action taken in an emergency, and minor communal services. (ILO Forced Labour Convention and Convention Concerning the Abolition of Forced Labour).

 

Human Trafficking - According to the United Nations, this includes three steps:

1. The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons;

2. By means of threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person;

3. With the intent of exploiting that person through: prostitution of others, sexual exploitation, forced labour, slavery (or similar practices), servitude, and removal of organs. The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of a child for the purpose of exploitation shall be considered ‘trafficking in persons’ even if this does not involve threat, use of force, or coercion. (United Nations Trafficking in Persons Protocol)

CONTEMPORARY SLAVERY IN ARMED CONFLICT
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